Striker Besart Berisha will be keen to end his stint with the Roar in style. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au
Brisbane Roar welcome Western Sydney Wanderers to Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon in this season’s A-league Grand Final.
The Roar head into the final coming off a gritty 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory on Saturday. A second-half shot from star striker Besart Berisha was enough to knock out the Albanian’s future employers and book the Roar a third home grand-final in four years. Mike Mulvey’s men come up against the competition’s newcomers Western Sydney. The Wanderers have been the Roar’s bogey side since their introduction, with Brisbane tasting victory just once in seven games. Playing at Suncorp Stadium at this stage of the season will be a tougher task if history repeats itself. The Roar is unbeaten in all finals matches they’ve played at home, managing to notch up four wins and two draws.
Western Sydney has impressed for much of the season, with Tony Popovic’s men playing an attractive style of football controlled by midfielder Shinji Ono. The Japanese star has been instrumental in the Wanderers' success, both in the A-league and the Asian Champions League. Ono will need to be in top form on Sunday, especially with Mark Bridges in serious doubt. The striker, Wanderers' second top goal scorer this season, picked up an ankle injury in their 2-0 triumph over Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night and is unlikely to feature in the squad. Bridge’s absence will come as a huge blow for the visitors and they will be looking for 22-year-old striker Tomi Juric to step up.
Home ground advantage may seem to be key, but with a large division of Wanderers' fans making the trip north on Sunday, the home supporters will have their work cut out keeping the red and black army quiet.
The Roar head into the championship decider as clear favourites, but don’t write off the Wanderers - they can definitely spoil the orange party. Last year’s grand final loss to the Mariners is still fresh in their minds and they won’t want to relive the heartache for the second time in as many years.
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